St. Jude cancer survivor, physician assistant, astronaut Hayley Arceneaux inspires kids to believe anything is possible
While soaring through space, the four astronauts on the Inspiration4 mission hosted a video call of a lifetime for several “stars” back on Earth – that is, children being treated for cancer and other catastrophic diseases at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®.
The crew entertained questions from the patients while tossing Peanut M&M’S® candy to each other in zero gravity. St. Jude survivor, now St. Jude physician assistant Hayley Arceneaux addressed the kids’ questions in English and Spanish while hanging upside down and dodging “Jude,” the golden retriever plush dog that was floating in zero gravity.
Some of the age-old mysteries of space were addressed in the call, such as:
- “Are there cows on the moon?”
- “How crazy was it going 1,000 mph out of the atmosphere?” (In reality, the crew travels at a speed of 17,500 mph.)
- “¿Cómo te peina el cabello en el espacio?”
- “What is your favorite space food?”
- “Is there such things as aliens in space?”
- “Can you fall in space since there is no gravity?”
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
St. Jude patients who participated in the life-changing video call ranged in age from six to 15, including: 15-year-old Tyler, 14-year-old Jackson, 11-year-old Colton, 9-year-old Alana, 8-year-old Vanessa, 7-year-old Gabriel, 6-year-old Ava, 6-year-old Matthew and 6-year-old Luna.
Inspiration4 is the world’s first all-civilian crew to orbit the Earth that launched from Cape Canaveral at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at 7:02 p.m. CT, Wednesday, Sept. 15. Commander Jared Isaacman selected St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as its beneficiary and committed $100 million to St. Jude to inspire others to raise an additional $100 million to accelerate research on devastating childhood diseases and save children all over the world.
The Inspiration4 crew comprises Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, a St. Jude cancer survivor and physician assistant, Dr. Sian Proctor and Chris Sembroski. They will orbit the Earth for multiple days on the Dragon spacecraft, before they return to Earth with a smooth water landing, which can be streamed live on stjude.org/inspiration4.
Hosted by St. Jude survivor Joel Alsup, this video call was the first footage of the crew released in space.
Inspiration4 is the world’s first all-civilian mission to orbit Earth. Commander Jared Isaacman selected St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as its beneficiary and committed $100 million to St. Jude to inspire others to raise an additional $100 million to accelerate research on devastating childhood diseases and save children all over the world. Isaacman donated two seats to St. Jude, one occupied by 29-year-old Hayley Arceneaux, pediatric cancer survivor and physician assistant at St. Jude. Arceneaux represents the pillar of Hope. The four crew members, including Isaacman and Arceneaux, boarded the Falcon 9 launch vehicle at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on September 15, 2021 and are currently orbiting the Earth on the Dragon spacecraft.
About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Its purpose is clear: Finding cures. Saving children.® It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude won’t stop until no child dies from cancer. St. Jude freely shares the discoveries it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. Visit St. Jude Inspire to discover powerful St. Jude stories of hope, strength, love and kindness. Join the St. Jude mission by visiting stjude.org, liking St. Jude on Facebook, following St. Jude on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, and subscribing to its YouTube channel.
SOURCE ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital